First day of Class ESL Speaking Activity:
Opening Opinions

Do you need an ace in the hole for your first day of class?

Start the year off on the right foot with Classroom Hero's 'Opening Opinions' Intermediate ESL Speaking Activity

AGE: Adults/Teenagers
SYNOPSIS: Group-based activity where students ask for their classmates’ opinions to prove information about the class
LANGUAGE FOCUS: Speaking fluency, asking and answering questions, making deductions
EXAM FOCUS: Part one of the FCE/CAE speaking exam: getting to know you
TIME: 45-90+ minutes
INTERACTION: Solo, pair and group work.
VOCABULARY: chores, social networking site, to dye hair, camping, public transportation, a hard drink, hiking, a bully, to ban something, to have a crush on somebody, contact lenses, chocoholic, a picky eater
[callout3] The point of this activity is for students to get to know each other and to break the ice by asking, answering and making deductions to prove the statements on their Prove It! cards.

Opening Opinions Procedure


1. Copy and cut up a set of the Opinion Cards so each person in the class has a card.

2. BEFORE starting the main activity:

(a) Hand out a set of the What do you Think? Cards to small groups or pairs for them to discuss.

(b) explain to the class that their home is on fire. They have just enough time to take 5 things (all people and pets are already safe). Have them write a list of those 5 things and then explain their choices and reasoning in pairs or small groups.

(c) the teacher assigns a problematic situation to a small group or set of pairs, and their job is to come up with as many possible reactions to it as they can.

1. Someone you know is gossiping behind your back.
2. You see a woman beating a man in the street. You think he’s in danger.
3. A beggar asks you for money and you know they’re hungry, but they will
probably drink the money away.
4. There is a class party and everyone has been invited - except you.
5. All of your friends forgot to call you for your birthday.
6. A foreign friend of yours is sent to jail because of immigration control.
7. A friend asked for your help to move house. He knows you have a bad knee.
8. You see your best friend’s partner with a member of the opposite sex having a romantic dinner in an exclusive restaurant.

Main Activity

3. To introduce the main activity, write a sentence on the board:

Most people in the class don’t drink Pepsi.

Now demonstrate the activity by asking enough people in the class if they like drinking Pepsi or not until you can prove the sentence. You probably won’t have to ask everyone in the class if they like drinking Pepsi. Just enough to prove the sentence.

4. Next, hand out the Prove It! Cards and have everyone try and find out what they need in order to prove the statements on their cards.

5. Have students report one or two sentences they proved that were interesting to them so the group can find out more about themselves.

Follow Up Ideas

1. Make sure the students understand that they CANNOT call out their own names, but only the names of their classmates for this activity. Read the Teacher Card and award a point for the first person who can name a person who fits in that category. If they guess incorrectly, they lose a point.

2. Put the students in pairs, and have them prepare a list of what they think makes a great teacher. They the class creates a picture of what they think 1) a great teacher should be like or 2) what a bad teacher does.

VARIATION: have one half prepare what makes a great student as well.

3. Ask the students to explain their motivations for studying English with you and what they hope to accomplish over the course of the year.

The point of this activity is for students to get to know each other by writing about their lives using a set of topic cards and then interviewing each other to confirm student predictions.

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